Do you ever wonder after a long day at work what you actually accomplished? Somehow, we wind up squandering time, which only leads to stress when we have to scramble to make our deadlines and get our work done.
If you find yourself perpetually rushing to turn in work or feel disorganized, you might want to consider how you spend your time. Once you closely examine each aspect of your work day, you might discover you’ve been wasting some precious time on these activities.
If you need help managing stress in the workplace, you might find yourself leaning on your social network more often than you should. Sometimes it’s just fun to check in to see how everyone else’s day is going. It’s amazing, however, how a quick check-in can turn into a long and frustrating discussion with a complete stranger on an NPR or New York Timesthread.
And while scrolling through your friend’s vacation pictures is a lovely distraction, it might just be preventing you from time better spent on that big project you need to turn in. Instead of letting these fun social networking sites impede your work day, make a point to check in with them only on a lunch break or at the very end of your day when you’re trying to unwind.
Instant messaging can be a convenient feature at work when you need to quickly touch base with colleagues. However, if it typically turns into chatting time rather than meaningful work-related conversation, it’s probably getting in your way. You might have to set your chat to “busy” so that you can concentrate on your work.
Other colleagues may have a lighter load on days that you don’t, which could tempt them into long chats that have nothing to do with work and everything to do with office gossip. Just remember that advancing your career has a lot to do with how well you manage your time, so keep your chat sessions to a minimum.
Email and Phone
Checking in with your email and voicemail throughout the day can detract from the work you’re doing. It’s important to prioritize the things you need to get done each day. By responding to emails that aren’t pressing or fielding phone calls that can wait, you’re losing both time and focus.
Try to set aside a period or two each day to tackle your email and voicemail. These resources can be great, but also utterly distracting. Sometimes you have to turn away from the electronic leash so you can actually be productive.
The Break Room
The break room is a great place to head when you need a stretch and a fresh cup of coffee. How many times, however, do colleagues there suck you into conversations that stretch overlong and force you to lose your train of thought concerning the task at hand?
If you find yourself getting caught up in lots of break room conversations, you’ll need to minimize the times you go there and do your best to get in and out with your coffee so you can get back to work.
Keep these time wasters in mind so you don’t commit them. As you learn to keep your day on track, you’ll start to feel great about your time management skills and the quality of work you perform.